SIOUX CITY, Iowa – The hot shooting of No. 1-seeded Saint Xavier (Ill.) ensured that IU Kokomo's (Ind.) first national championships appearance would be a short one. The victorious Cougars blistered the nets at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, shooting 62.7 percent from the floor en route to a 100-61 first-round win on Thursday evening.
Head coach Bob Hallberg's squad will move on to the second round of the 2017 NAIA Division II Women's Basketball National Championships. Saint Xavier (31-2) will play fourth-seeded Friends (Kan.) (27-5) in the next round. Head coach Carlee Cottrell's bunch, River States Conference tournament runner up, ends its season at 21-13 overall.
Brittany Collins set the tone for SXU by scoring 11 of her game high 24 points in the opening quarter.
IU Kokomo got a team high 14 points from Dejianna Butler, who converted on 6-of-8 shots.
Collectively, IU Kokomo shot 36.4 percent, brought down 27 rebounds, and grabbed seven steals.
Saint Xavier is a No. 1 seed at the NAIA Division II tournament for the third year in a row. In the previous two seasons, SXU has advanced as far as the quarterfinal round. Last year they were upset by fifth-seeded Goshen (Ind.), 84-66, in the second round.
In just the third year of the IU Kokomo women's basketball team's short history the Cougars finished the 2016-17 season with an overall record of 21-12 and as the West Division Champions and Conference Tournament Runner-Up in the River States Conference. This propelled the Cougars to the NAIA DII Women's Basketball National Tournament for the first time. Junior Deja Felder surpassed 1000 career points and was named to All-Conference First Team with Junior Whitney Williamson earning All-Conference Second Team honors this season as well. The Cougars will look to continue their success next year with no seniors currently on the roster.